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She, lately in that bower of bliss,
How simple and how still to this !
For ever and anon there rolld
The gusty organ manifold;
Like a golden gate of heaven
On its hinges angel-driven,
To let through a storm and weight
Of its throne's consenting state;
Till the dreadful grace withdrew
Into breath serene as dew,
Comforting the ascending hymn
With notes of softest seraphim.
Then was call’d on Jesus mild ;
And in the midst that new-born child
Was laid within the lap of faith,
While his prayer the Churchman saith,
And gifted with two loving names-
One the heir of warlike fames,
And one befitting sage new line,
Against the world grow more benign.
Like a bubble, children-blown, Then was all that splendour flown, And in a window by the light Of the gentle moon at night, Talking with her love apart, And her own o'erflowing heart, That queen and mother did I see Too happy for tranquillity; Too generous-happy to endure The thought of all the woeful poor, Who that same night laid down their heads In misery, on starving beds, In cold, in wet, disease, despair, In madness that will say no prayer,
With wailing infants some, and some
By whom the little clay lies dumb;
And some, whom feeble love's excess,
Through terror, tempts to murderousness.
And at that thought the big drops rose
In pity for her people's woes;
And this glad mother and great Queen
Weeping for the poor was seen,
And vowing in her princely will
That they should thrive and bless her still.
And of these three fair sights of mine, That was the vision most divine.
ON THE BIRTH OF THE PRINCESS ALICE
Welcome, then, fair new delight!
Welcome to thy father's sight,
Welcome to thy sister, brother,
And thy sweet strong-hearted mother;
(Faithful to all duties she,
That could prosper them and thee ;)
Welcome, playmate of them all,
Future grace of bower and hall,
Queen perchance of some great land,
Whose kisses wait thy little hand.
Thou art come in right good time,
With the sweetest of the prime,
With the green trees and the flowers,
Orchard blooms and sunny showers,
And the cuckoo and the bee,
And lark's angelic ecstacy ;
And the bird that speaks delight
Into the close ear of night.
What a world, were human kind
All of one instructed mind!
What a world to rule, to please,
To share 'twixt enterprise and ease !
Graceful manners, flowing round,
From the court's enchanted ground,
Comfort keeping all secure,
None too rich, and none too poor.
Thee, meantime, fair child of one
Fit to see that golden sun,
Thee may no worse lot befall
Than a long life, April all;
Fuller, much, of hopes than fears,
Kind in smiles, and kind in tears;
Graceful, cheerful, ever new,
Heaven and earth both kept in view,
While the poor look up and bless
Thy celestial bounteousness.
And, when all thy days are done,
And sadness views thy setting sun,
May'st thou greet thy mother's eyes,
And endless May, in Paradise !
Cowper views infancy and childhood through a dark veil:
Though, clasp'd and cradled in his nurse's arms, He shines with all a cherub's artless charms, Man is the genuine offspring of revolt, Stubborn and sturdy, a wild ass's colt; His passions, like the watery stores that sleep Beneath the smiling surface of the deep, Wait but the lashes of a wintry storm, To frown and roar, and shake his feeble form. From infancy through childhood's giddy maze, Froward at school, and fretful in his plays, The puny tyrant burns to subjugate The free republic of the whip-gip state.
If one, his equal in athletic frame,
Or, more provoking still, of nobler name,
Dare step across his arbitrary views,
An Iliad, only not in verse, ensues :
The little Greeks look trembling at the scales,
Till the best tongue or heaviest hand prevails.”
These lines were prompted by remembrances of the melancholy childhood of their author, whose early birthdays came and ended in tears after the premature death of his loving and indulgent mother. He was then taken out of the nursery and sent to a public school, where his extreme sensibility and fragile health exposed him to much cruelty and ridicule among his rough unkind companions. In this situation we have an example of the power of faith in a child. He was one day sitting alone, almost ready to weep from the expectation of seeing his chief tormentor appear before him, when the words of the Psalmist came to his relief, “I will not be afraid of what man can do unto me," and inspired him with trust and confidence. This was a boy who would see vastly more in his revolving birthdays than the cake and the orange.
In Grasmere churchyard, close by the grave of William Wordsworth, lies buried Hartley Coleridge, a poet, and the son of a poet. The following was written by Wordsworth :
TO HARTLEY COLERIDGE,
SIX YEARS OLD.
O thou, whose fancies from afar are brought;
Who of thy words dost make a mock apparel,
And fittest to unutterable thought
The breeze-like motion, and the self-born carol ;
Thou faëry voyager! that dost float
In such clear water, that thy boat
May rather seem
To brood on air than on an earthly stream;
Suspended in a stream as clear as sky,
Where earth and heaven do make one imagery ;
O blessèd vision! happy child!
Thou art so exquisitely wild,
I think of thee with many fears,
For what may be thy lot in future years.
I thought of times when Pain might be thy guest,
Lord of thy house and hospitality;
And Grief, uneasy lover! never rest,
But when she sate within the touch of thee.
O too industrious folly!
O vain and causeless melancholy !
Nature will either end thee quite,
Or, lengthening out thy season of delight,
Preserve for thee, by individual right,
A young lamb's heart among the full-grown flocks.
What hast thou to do with sorrow,
Or the injuries of to-morrow ?
Thou art a dew-drop, which the morn brings forth,
Ill fitted to sustain unkindly shocks,
Or to be trail'd along the sailing earth ;
A gem that glitters while it lives,
And no forewarning gives,
But, at the touch of wrong, without a strife,
Slips in a moment out of life.
Of his intimate friend in boyhood and youth, afterwards Lord Chancellor Thurlow, Cowper writes thus :
Round Thurlow's head in early youth,
And in his sportive days,
Fair science pour'd the light of truth,
And genius shed its rays.